Fire/EMS Dispatcher
BELLINGHAM CITY OF
 Bellingham, WA

Nature of Work

Closing Date/Time: Fri. 12/6/2019 4:30 PM Pacific Time

This recruitment process will create a Civil Service eligibility register that will be used to fill anticipated full-time vacancies should they occur. The Civil Service Eligibility Register will remain in effect for six months, or longer as established by the Civil Service Commission at a later date. This position is represented by a union.

The Bellingham Fire Department is accepting applications for Entry-level Fire/EMS Dispatchers, as well as Experienced Fire/EMS Dispatchers.

2019 Salary Information:

$4,089.00 per month while in training.

$4,334.00 per month when fully trained.

Experienced Dispatchers:

To be eligible Experienced dispatchers must have a minimum of 24 months of full time paid experience as an emergency services dispatcher within the last 36 months. The experience must be in a jurisdiction of at least similar size and call volume. Newly hired experienced dispatchers will begin at Step 1 of Dispatcher in Training. Upon successful completion of training, the experienced dispatcher will be placed at step 1 of the fully qualified pay scale effective the first day of the following month. Subsequent step movement will be granted in six month intervals until the new employee achieves step placement that is commiserate with their continuous experience at hire.

Fire/EMS Dispatcher Salary Structure

Nature of Work:

The Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Dispatcher processes and dispatches all requests for Fire and EMS response. Receives transferred calls from What-Comm Communications Center, various other agencies and directly from the public for Fire/EMS, public assistance, and hazmat responses. Gathers information from calling parties; prioritizes and triages emergency requests for various types of assistance. When appropriate, transfers the caller to another appropriate agency. Fire/EMS Dispatchers located in the Prospect Communication Center (PCC) dispatch fire, rescue, medical, hazmat and other support units according to established policies and procedures. PCC dispatchers use a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system and Medical/Fire Priority Dispatch Protocols to triage information from the caller to determine the most appropriate apparatus to send, the level of coverage required and manage deployment of available units. PCC dispatchers monitor current status of Fire/EMS Department resources and assist in making recommendations for temporary or permanent changes to fire response standards. PCC dispatchers are responsible for protecting and upholding the Washington State HIPAA/Confidentiality Laws as they relate to the dispatch work.

PCC is the primary answering point for the City's Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Whatcom County Department of Emergency Management (DEM) and dispatches all hazmat incidents. As the secondary PSAP in Whatcom County, PCC has the capability and equipment necessary to receive all 911 calls directly in the event that What-Comm Communications Center needs to be evacuated.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS:

  • Receives, prioritizes, and routes emergency and non-emergency calls from the public, transferred calls and calls received directly from other agencies. Based on established procedures, enters non-emergent caller's information and dispatches according to priority or transfer/refers to the appropriate agency. Gathers information from calling parties and enters the type, location, source and all information for emergency calls into CAD. Triages emergency requests for assistance, and dispatches fire, rescue, medical, hazmat and other support units based on established protocols. Relays pertinent information between responders via radio.
  • Provides pre-arrival emergency and non-emergency instruction to the caller, including but not limited to, CPR, childbirth instruction and other life-saving instructions. Continually updates the status of patients and responders to apparatus responding to the incident.
  • Retrieves and evaluates information from computers based on knowledge of dispatch and emergency response protocols, status of available apparatus and familiarity with county and city geography. Dispatches and relays call information to responding personnel and apparatus.
  • Manages multiple radio frequencies and radio communications simultaneously per established policies and procedures.
  • Communicates and coordinates closely with field units and command officers to support and meet the needs of the incident and to accurately monitor incident status and unit response availability. May work closely with other fire service personnel assigned to assist dispatch operations.
  • Checks the Fire/EMS dispatch consoles on a scheduled basis by running maintenance tests and monitors all other dispatch equipment as needed. Reports problems to the COO or Communications Division Chief for facilitation of repair service for malfunctioning system components.
  • Provides vehicle routing information to responding units as needed. Establishes and maintains current road closure information in a local database.
  • Appropriately monitors city-wide webcams, weather, local and national news during active incidents or weather-related emergencies for safety and scene information and relays that information to responders and other agencies as staffing and workload allows.

ADDITIONAL WORK PERFORMED:

  • Generates routine reports daily such as the incident history reports, incident shift summaries, informational reports, etc.
  • In specifically defined situations, provides and/or coordinates on-site radio and telephone communications at the scene of an incident.
  • Faxes and mails daily reports and information reports to appropriate agencies. Maintains various files, such as premise information, location information, reference maps, business phone numbers, personnel phone numbers, etc. Assists in the evaluation of dispatch systems, operations and practices.
  • Regularly participates in fire service drills, training and emergency ride-alongs.
  • Participates in the training of probationary Fire/EMS dispatchers.
  • Performs other duties within the scope of the classification.

WORKING ENVIRONMENT:

The work is performed in an office environment at a computer/telecommunications work station, in close proximity to co-workers. PCC Fire/EMS Dispatchers use different computer systems, a multi-line telephone system utilizing a headset and complex radio communications system to receive, input and process information. PCC Fire/EMS Dispatchers frequently take calls from people in various emotional states requesting an emergency response. The workload intensity varies considerably and requires frequent swings from emergency calls for service to less emergent assistance calls all dependent on cooperative teamwork. Specifically defined circumstances may require the response to an emergency scene to provide and coordinate on-scene emergency communications.

The work includes shift work and the need to keep current with changing operational policies and procedures. It also includes the requirement to attend and participate in fire service drills and certain fire trainings, as well as the requirement to maintain specialized training certifications as determined by policy and union contract. The work environment requires long periods of sitting or standing.

Physical ability to perform the required work including:

  • Visual acuity (correctable) to accurately read information from a computer screen and printed materials at varying distances, while multi-tasking.
  • Hearing within (or correctable to) normal limits across the speech frequencies and recognition of speech in the very good to excellent range.
  • Manual dexterity to frequently operate a computer.

Experience and Training

  • Minimum of one year of experience in a position with intensive public contact.
  • Minimum keyboarding skill of 40 wpm net.
  • Experience or training in the use of computer software such as word processing, spreadsheets, database management preferred.
  • Experience using multi-line phone systems preferred.

Necessary Special Requirements

  • Must have completed and successfully passed an approved EMT training course series prior to date of hire and within the last ten (10) years;

OR

  • Must have worked as a certified EMT within the previous ten (10) years.

OR

  • Must have at least two years' experience as a What-Comm Dispatcher or a dispatcher in a public safety dispatching setting with comparable duties to the Fire/EMS Dispatcher within the last 5 years

AND

  • Must obtain EMD, EFD, certification within one year of hire or the time period specified by policy or contract.
  • Must have a telephone at place of residence or a cell phone.
  • Must pass a hearing evaluation prior to hire.
  • Must pass a criminal convictions background check prior to hire.
  • Must pass a pre-employment drug screen.
  • Must be willing to work 12 hour shifts, weekends and holidays, including responding to callouts and overtime needs.

Selection Process

You are encouraged to print a copy of this job announcement for your reference as the process moves along

Please ensure your application is complete and all required information has been provided. Standard completeness means all application fields (contact information, personal information, education, work experience, references, and required supplemental questions). The information provided in your application must support your selected answers in the supplemental questionnaire. Provide as much detail as you believe will fully describe your experience and training.

Cover letters and resumes are not reviewed to determine if your application meets minimum qualifications. Supplemental Questionnaire responses not supported in your application will disqualify you from consideration for this position.

Application Review process:

  • Minimum Qualifications: Candidates must provide specific, detailed information so an initial determination can be made regarding your level of qualifications for this position. Applicant status will be updated on or around December 10, 2019.
  • Candidates that meet minimum qualifications will be invited, via email, to participate in Skills Testing. Testing sessions will be offered in Bellingham, WA on the following dates: Thursday, December 19, 2019 and Friday, December 20, 2019. Candidates must appear in person to complete Skills Testing. The e-mail notification will include additional information regarding the testing process. Additional testing dates may be added if necessary.
  • Candidates that pass the Skills Test will be placed on a ranked eligibility register based on their Skills Test score.

When vacancies occur, the top scoring 15 candidates or the top 25%, whichever is greater, will be referred to the Department for final assessment. The Fire Department will contact candidates directly if they are selected for additional review.

Please Note: Candidates will receive updates regarding application status via email. Please be sure to check your email frequently.

Equal Opportunity:

Our environment is characterized by respect for cultural backgrounds, belief systems, and ethnic diversity. The City of Bellingham is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values diversity in its work force. We do not make decisions on the basis of an individual's race, religion, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status, age (40+), disability, retaliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, honorably discharged veteran or military status, status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability, or any other basis prohibited by local, state, or federal law. All are encouraged to apply for employment.

Fair Hiring Practices

  • The City provides individuals who have been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense an equal and fair opportunity to obtain employment.
  • The City will not inquire about an applicant's criminal history until after a conditional job offer has been made.
  • The City will disregard the prior arrest and conviction record of an otherwise qualified individual unless the offense is directly related to the job position for which the individual has applied.
  • The City will notify an otherwise qualified applicant about a potentially disqualifying conviction and give the applicant an opportunity to submit information regarding the accuracy of the criminal records as well as evidence of mitigation or rehabilitation, as appropriate.